Monkeypox Virus: A breakthrough in Scientific News

Monkeypox Virus: A breakthrough in Scientific News

The monkeypox virus that has been reported in mainstream and scientific news is part of the Orthopoxvirus genus that closely resembles smallpox (variola) virus. (1) The genetic code of monkeypox is similar enough to smallpox that known vaccines, such as those developed against the vaccinia virus, as well as anti-viral treatments are found to be effective in dampening its spread and adverse physiological effects. (2)

As reported by Nature on May 28th(3),  the impact on human health is concerning but it is the unusual spread of the disease that is perking curiosity amongst researchers. For decades this virus had been contained to animal populations with limited transmission to humans in Central and Eastern Africa. It has been recently identified to be spreading in humans and in countries around the world where the virus was not previously identified. Epidemiologists are working diligently to determine the causes of the abnormal distribution of the virus.

The poxviruses are interesting research targets. The risk of viruses evolving is always present, and as reported by Nature even small outbreaks (in comparison to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic) present some risk of a virus mutating. “The monkeypox genome is enormous relative to that of many other viruses — it is more than six times as large as the genome for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. That means they’re at least “six times harder to analyze”, says Rachel Roper, a virologist at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.” (2) Andrea McCollum, an epidemiologist from the CDC added “All of the new attention on monkeypox has laid bare just how much scientists have yet to understand about the virus, McCollum says. “When this has all settled down, I think we’ll have to think long and hard about where the research priorities are.”

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Study Shows Young CSF made old mice younger

Breaking Research News: Study Shows Young CSF made old mice younger

A recent study published in Nature (May 11, 2022) displayed that infusion of young CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) into the brains of aged mice improves their memory function. Young CSF boosts oligodentrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) proliferation and differentiation in aged brains.

  • Young CSF restores oligodendrogenesis and memory in aged mice via FGF17
  • Injection of CSF into aged mice initiates OPC proliferation and strengthens long term memory by use of FGF17

Serum response factor (SRF) is a mediator of OPC proliferation following young CSF exposure. Fibroblast growth factor 17 (FGF17) infusion can induce OPC proliferation and long-term memory strengthening in old mice, while Fgf17 blockage impairs mental processing in young mice.

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